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Vancouver rooftop greenhouse grower secures a high-end market for greens


Len McDonald works among the growing trays at Vancouver’s Alterrus rooftop greenhouse. Photo by Vancouver Sun.

The greenhouse, perched atop a Richards Street parkade in downtown Vancouver, employs a four-metre-high system of hundreds of suspended trays that move to maximize exposure to natural light

By Randy Shore
Vancouver Sun
November 20, 2012

Excerpt:

VANCOUVER — A unique mechanized greenhouse operation will deliver its first crop of salad greens, herbs and spinach today and begin to pay back a $2-million investment.

The greenhouse, perched atop a Richards Street parkade in downtown Vancouver, employs a four-metre-high system of hundreds of suspended trays that move to maximize exposure to natural light and to facilitate harvesting.

Alterrus’ vertical greenhouse prototype has been operating in a greenhouse at England’s Paignton Zoo for three years, providing food for the animals. But all eyes are on Vancouver to see if the system can turn a profit as a standalone business, according to the company’s strategic adviser Donovan Woollard.

The Vancouver-based company, which trades on the Canadian National Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of $9.5 million, went back to the market for $500,000 in operating capital earlier this year.

Alterrus showed an operating loss of $417,453 for its most recent fiscal quarter and on its balance sheet, the company states it has accumulated $53 million in losses during its development stage.

Read the complete article here.

Also see: “Vertical urban farm opens in Vancouver parking lot” here.


Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson enjoys greens produced at Local Garden, the city’s first vertical urban farm. Photo by Emily Jackson

1 comment

1 Timo Eckhardt { 11.23.12 at 12:42 am }

It’s mentioned that they had an up-front investment of $2 million. Does this include the costs for purchasing the land? If yes, do you know what the costs per sqm/sqft are (excluding land costs), so only material costs?